Choate Rosemary Hall review by Harvard University student. Choate Rosemary Hall has an excellent, if not undoubtedly best, academic program and standards. First, Choate's academic program centers on the belief that the best preparation for college is a liberal arts education. Thus, there are 3 year language requirements, two year history requirements, four year English requirements, and two or three term Arts requirements. In addition, science and math are four year requirements. Second, there is a wide selection of class to choose from: from the regular level course, to Honors, and finally Advanced Placements APs. There are well over 20 APs that the school offers, and Choate is often a hub for AP takers from all over the Wallingford, New Haven, and other areas. That said, it is extremely difficult to get into the top classes. Usually, one is recommended for Honors level classes at the start, or more frequently after the completion, of Sophomore year. Grades of A- are required in regular, prerequisite courses before recommendations for the AP sequence courses can be given. Workload is as follows: from what I have heard from my peers while at Choate, Regular level courses are often medium workload courses at best. However, though one can choose these courses and excel in them with a decent amount of effort, they are not the best ones to beef up your college resume. AP level courses and Honors level courses on the other hand require a lot of hard work. Choate teachers are often merciless with the amount of work they assign in these high level course, because they expect students enrolled in these courses to have obtained the necessary knowledge, skills, and academic work ethic that is required. In other words, they can be seen as college level courses and require a lot of effort, and often out side of the classroom meetings with teachers. The teachers, from my own experience, are great. All of them have BAs - bachelor degree, most have Masters (a great percentage of which have two or more Master degrees) and a decent amount have PhD. They know their subject matter cold! There may be one or two teachers whom one may not like, or whom are perceived as unfair graders. But most are experts and truly very kind individuals. Class size is just right: no more than 15, often only 12. Teachers will definitely know you on a first name basis by the second day, and learning is swift and effective!
College counseling at Choate is good-but not the absolute best. First, compared to public schools and most other private schools, college counseling at Choate is far superior. There are weekly meetings. Each college counselor has roughly 30 kids to manage, and each CC will advocate on your behalf to each and every school you apply to. College counseling at Choate begins in the spring of Junior year. You engage in what are called small group meetings at this point-20 to 25 kids in a small group- to discuss the outlines of the process, what you will face senior fall, what your options and resources are, how to use web programs such as "Tcci Naviance" to look at college admission statistics, and many other useful tidbits of information that definitely should not be ignored. Senior fall you meet with advisors on a weekly basis. You make a list of Possible, Probable, and Reach schools. Choate lets you apply to 10 schools at most (11 if you include your state schools), no more than 4 of which are advised to be Reaches. Though your college counselor does not restrict what schools you can apply to (one of my peers with a 2.9 GPA applied to all Ivy League colleges/universities and Wesleyan) they strongly advise you based on what your statistical and background advantages are. In other words, they can't limit you, but they will tell you the honest-and often brutal truth- of the likelihood of you getting into your the schools on your list. In that sense, they are very helpful and very pragmatic. Also, they often maintain personal and scholastic relationships with a lot of colleges, so admission officers tend to see Choate college counseling officers as reliable and trustworthy. College counselors at Choate will always advocate on your behalf. They are your advertisers. The only criticism that I can think of is that these college counselors are often very VERY stressed. They work all day, and they have a lot to carry on their shoulders, seeing as college admission statistics at Choate is often under scrutiny by the Board of Trustees and the Headmaster (trust me, I was on the Board as a student Rep, and these trustees grill the College counselors, especially the Dean of College Counseling). Thus, their stress, anxiety, and often brutal truth may discourage some. Also, as in many endeavors, it is often your responsibility to make sure to be on top of the meetings, deadlines, etc. In that sense, a lot is required from you during this whole process seeing as you cannot use your College counselor - who is on overload and stressed out- for every single niche and cranny of the college application process.
Choate is an tight-nit community that is safe, secure, family-like, and often a comfort zone as a second home. Housing is excellent. Dorms are first rate (especially the new 2008 multi-million dollar dorms!) dining hall service is excellent (though you may get tired of it simply because you may grow too familiar with it). There is minimal association at best with the town of Wallingford; it is as if Choate is its very own town. There is absolutely no crime; and if there be some freak incident it is often isolated to two or three people (nothing like it happened during my four years). There are formals, dances, celebratory events every term, for every major holiday, school dance, school event, etc. Choate is quite diverse for a top-tier boarding school. 30 percent student of color, and 66 percent on some form of financial aid. Also, there is the Icahn Scholars Program (ten students every year, all expenses, all books, stipends, support programs, and many other perks paid) and other newly started programs such as the Gaiko-Walton (another all expenses paid full scholarship program). Choate's doctors and nurses are on call 24/7 at the school's infirmary. Chaplain, and religious service is available for all major faiths and religions. Also, other religious/spiritual services are available for followers of other faiths. It is truly very tolerant and very open! School tradition: non-denominational, tolerant, diverse, multicultural, New England values of liberal arts education and preparatory training for the college level, American values of hardwork, acceptance, dynamic interactions with others, and strong and endearing student-teacher and student-student relationships that build academic and personal character and growth. School's approach was just right: liberal arts education with traditional New England lifestyle, tolerance, and hardwork and perseverance. Personally, I benefited from being motivated by excellent teachers to do hard-work and to persevere in my tasks. I was pushed, but it was my choice. It will be your choice as well. Make sure to have a good social time with great friends and classmates, while pursuing your own academic interests, hopes and dreams. Take good care of your time at Choate. It is a great place!
Choate does a good job with balancing school life with extra curricular activities. Extra-curricular activities are required each and every term, unless you are taking a 6th course, or in a school play. Choate is very proactive in encouraging extra curricular activities. Student has the option to pursue sports, plays, or other unique extra curricular such as yoga, debate, intramural activity, and many others. Community service is a key aspect at Choate. This could be your extracurricular commitment. Choate has a very well advanced and highly interactive Community Service program. In fact 30 hours is required before graduation! Of course there are school clubs, Boards, Student Counsel, Judicial Counsel, Independent projects, and other channels of extra curricular that allow you to contribute, pursue your interests, all the while beefing up your college resume! In the end, it is up to YOU to pursue your own extra-curricular activities. If you are proactive, and if you follow the Choate motto (fidelity and integrity) you will take up interesting extracurricular and naturally end up being the President/ Leaders in the club(s) you are passionate about by your junior or senior years.